Discover Canterbury: Hart & Reese architecture

The Harts, Christchurch via Birmingham

George Alfred James Hart was born in West Bromwich, near Birmingham, in 1876 to parents Alfred Henry and Mary Elizabeth. The family moved to New Zealand, arriving at Lyttelton in November 1879, where his father started an architectural firm. Hart returned to England to study architecture, later becoming a licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 1908 he married Mary Ann Herd in Devon before returning to Christchurch in late October to take over the business of his father who had died suddenly.

With the Registration Act of 1913 George became a foundation member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. In 1914 he became an associate, in 1924 a fellow, and a life member in 1949. He was also a founder of the Christchurch Architectural Students' Association, and a lecturer at Canterbury University College School of Art for 26 years.

Around 1914 George Hart entered into a partnership with Andrew Dalziel Reese, who had completed his apprenticeship with Cecil Wood. Reese enlisted in the eighteenth reinforcements and departed New Zealand for France in October 1916. He was reported killed in action in June 1917 at the age of thirty.

Hart continued to use the firm name 'Hart & Reese, Registered Architects'. 

In addition to the homes detailed below, he was the designer of the Millers building on Tuam St which opened in 1939 and later housed the Christchurch City Council.

Waireka Estate: Homebush

In 1915 George Hart's architectural firm Hart & Reese designed the plans of house at Waireka Estate for William Broughton, son of Canterbury pioneer John Broughton. William was educated at Christ's College before becoming a clerk with the Supreme Court, then transferring to the office of Richard Fereday where he remained for 25 years. In 1901 he went into farming and took over Waireka Estate which he managed for about twenty three years.

The house features four generous bedrooms, as well as a large nursery.

House : Waireka Estate, Homebush for William Broughton Esq. No known copyright. CCL-Eph31-009

Hackthorne Road: Cashmere

In 1919 George Hart designed the plan of a three bedroom house on Hackthorne Road for Mr F. Parsonson.

House : Hackthorne Road for Mr F. Parsonson. No known copyright. CCL-Eph31-001

Waireka Homestead: Homebush

1923 saw Hart & Reese draw the plans for a homestead at Waireka Estate for Spencer Goss Broughton, second eldest son of the owner of the property, William Broughton. Tenders for the erection of this building were advertised in May, with the chosen contractor signing the agreement on the 7 June 1923.

The plan shows a homestead of generous proportions with five bedrooms and several fireplaces.

Homestead : Waireka for S. Broughton Esq. No known copyright. CCL-Eph31-010a

33 Andover Street: Merivale

In 1933 the plans for No. 33 Andover Street in Merivale for the Reverend Otto Fitzgerald were drawn. The house featured a modest two bedrooms plus study. Reverend Otto Fitzgerald was born in 1868, son of the first Superintendent of Canterbury, James Edward Fitzgerald. He served as vicar of Avonside from 1912 to 1933.

House : No 33 Andover Street, Merivale for Revd. O. Fitzgerald. No known copyright. CCL-Eph31-011

8 Marama Crescent: St Andrews Hill

Plans for a house in St Andrews Hill for Mr Alexander Macleod were drawn in 1944. Macleod lived in the house with wife Florence until his death in 1948 at the age of 76.

Although updated over the years, the home still stands at 8 Marama Crescent today.

Residence : St Andrews Hill for Mr Alexander Macleod. No known copyright. CCL-Eph31-007

Later years

After a prestigious and long standing career, with many awards and accolades achieved, George Hart passed away in 1961 at the age of 84. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, and a son.

The House and building plans collection contains more architectural plans from George Alfred James Hart.

Do you have any images related to architecture in Canterbury? If so, we would love for you to contribute to our collection.

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